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Author Topic:   End of the line for large two-smokes?
SuburbanBoy posted 04-19-2001 02:13 PM ET (US)   Profile for SuburbanBoy   Send Email to SuburbanBoy  
Honda recently announced the impending release of a 225hp V6 4stroke. This will be a full boat (oops) technical assault. Is this the beginning of the end for large oil burners? I am quite sure the price will take your breath away, but afterall it is a Honda. At least they did not call it an Acura.

It is very difficult to engineer and manufacture competitive 4stroke engines. Just look at the success (and failures) of Cannondale Company. They have been at it for some time, and are just now on the edge of sucess. As I understand it, Mercury has just recently dipped its engineering toes into an all in-house engine. The potential for failure of a new player is very high (just look at the OMC disaster), yet the demand remains high for a large 4cycle. Honda might just pull out a huge piece of market share. Of course this news is of little value to new Whaler purchases (Mercury only) but may cause a stampeed of Classic owners to their local Honda Marine dealer. But, I for one, will miss the smell of 2strokes in the early morning. And, I'll bet it comes in at over $100/hp.

bigz posted 04-19-2001 03:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
Hell, Yamaha already has a 225 4 stroke out testing --- it was supposed to be released this season but won't make it I hear now, it only weights about 80 to 100 lbs more than their 2 stroke 225 --- Merc has a big 4 stroker in the works (maybe using Orbital technology's direct injection instead of EFI)

Bombardier will have the new Ficht 2 strokers moving forward in another month or so --- that engine gets better gas economy and emits less emissions than Honda's 4 stroke the same or pretty close is the Merc Optimax 2 stroker though it is a little noisier ---

My money is on direct injection whether 2 or 4 stroke outboards in the near future --- including SUV as the EPA lays down better fuel economy guidelines ---

lhg posted 04-19-2001 04:08 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Although you'd never know it from their advertizing, Honda, once the (only) leader in 4 stroke outboard engines, has suddenly found themselves at the bottom of the heap. The Merc, Yamaha and Suzuki engines are all considered superior in performance and efficiency, especially in weight. The Honda's are "marinized" auto engines, extremely heavy and large (particularly the 115/130's), and not specifically designed for the marine market. The others are. This is not to say that the Honda outboards are not smooth running and reliable engines.

It will be interesting to see what they come up with in the 200+ range. My guess is that all of their 50Hp and up outboard engines are about to be redesigned from the ground up as marine outboards.

SuburbanBoy posted 04-19-2001 04:18 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
The Orbital solution was pitched extensivly to automotive world wide. Failing that pitch they moved off to new areas... The Ficht fireball is claimed to meet 06' not 08'. Like it or not, I believe most of the recreational marine solutions will evolve from current automotive practice, and not from some other external source. The research $ in automotive is much bigger than marine budgets. Too bad too, its going to get real complicated real fast. Old Ole (Evinrude) must be rolling over in his grave.

compounder posted 04-19-2001 04:24 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
I always try not to be a "doom & gloom" type person. I can remember that in the early 70's some folks were predicting the end of internal combustion powered automobiles as we knew them because of the new emission control systems being required.

Well, we did have some pretty lousy-running auto engines for awhile, but look at what we have now. I have a 275hp V8 GM truck that regularly returns 21 mpg and has never coughed, spit or bucked, and it has done it for 157,000 miles without complaint or repair!

I predict two-strokes will be further refined and that we will enjoy them more. I don't think we will enjoy the price though.


lhg posted 04-19-2001 04:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
BigZ - Buckley, CEO at Mercury has been saying all along that Yamaha took the marine industry for a "ride" when it got an innovation award for the 4 stroke 225. A lot of people were really upset that Yamaha had duped them on this. I guess Buckely was right that the engine could never be sold as a 2001 model, which was the criteria for the award. Do you owe Buckley an apology on this issue?? I know he's not one of your favorite persons!

He also said, two months ago, that Bombardier wasn't going to get the full line of Johnson and Evinrude in production and out on the marketplace for at least 6 months. So they have 4 months left to get them into the Dealer showrooms. Bet he's right there also. I think they may get a few Ficht's and Suzuki-bought engines out for 2002, but that's about it. Doesn't seem to be any action at all on the Johnson low-tech models.
Johnson/Evinrude Dealers (those that are left) must be hurting these days. Has the Coast Guard even issued them permission to sell the left-over Fichts?

dgp posted 04-19-2001 06:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
First, to set the record straight, "oil burners" are diesel engines not 2 strokes.

Second, Honda is having a tough go in the marine market because of overheat problems by using their car engines in outboard motors. Their aluminum alloy is designed for an ethelene-glycol based coolant not salt water, so corrosion is a big problem.

Third, don't discount Orbital and their direct injection technology, both in 2 & 4 cycle. If you want to see their successes go to
Emission standards are driving the whole engine business. While we may not like it, it's here to stay.

lhg posted 04-19-2001 07:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Thanks for the update on the Honda's, Don. Since I don't think any engine with an overheating problem in salt is highly reliable, maybe I only should have said "smooth running"!

If I remember correctly, someone also said that the old Homelite/Fisher Pierce Bearcat 4 strokes, which were also marinized auto engines, also had a salt corrosion problem in the cooling system.

compounder posted 04-19-2001 08:17 PM ET (US)     Profile for compounder  Send Email to compounder     
Don, I'm not an engineer of any sort, but I was under the impression that two-strokes were most definitely "oil burners."

If the oil isn't burned, what causes all the smoke and exactly where does the oil go?


lhg posted 04-19-2001 08:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Joe - You've been hanging around the sailboat crowd for too long! Most sailboats, incidentally, DO use "oil burners".
SuburbanBoy posted 04-19-2001 10:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Oil burners, two smokes etc. are all nick names for 2-cycle motors, which traditionally have had oil added directly to fuel. This addition has usually taken place in the gas tank or in a fuel line. So that makes them oil burners. But, you have a point with diesels; both 2-cycle and 4-cycle diesels burn oil.

Auto engines misapplied as marine engines? Every Mercruiser, Suzuki injected outboard model, Honda 4 cylinder, and others are automotive-based engines. I have even seen Ferrari and other Italian exotica applied as a marine engine. The corrosion effects are no different for a 2-cycle aluminum engine or a 4-cycle aluminum engine. If the Honda has a fundamental cooling problem, as stated by dpg, it is not likely because of its 4-cycle heritage. Many a forum member has dreamed of a 200+ 4-cycle outboard. That day is just around the corner. The effort to cleanup the 2 stroke (IMHO) is principally driven by a practical desire to extend manufacturing runs and utilize existing manufacturing facilities. It costs big bucks to start up a new engine plant. Smoke em’ if you got em’.

dgp posted 04-20-2001 08:40 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Diesels are called oil burners because of the fuel they use. In the fuel mfg cracing process, diesel fuel comes off right after No. 1 home heating oil and way before gasoline. Diesel fuel is considered an oil.
hauptjm posted 04-20-2001 09:23 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
I have to agree with Compounder in regard to what we're speculating here. With regard to the current state of Emission Standards and technology, I think all comments are pretty accurate. However, the mechanical pencils are scribbling as we speak, and what comes out of these design firms will probably look totally different than what we expect. In the early Seventies, the automotive press were pushing TurboChargers as the only way to revive "Pony Car" horsepower and maintain emission standards. Look around, virtually no turbos. What we do have is incredibly fast, powerful and efficient cars that can run circles around almost any Pony Car made. And can also take a turn. I'm not knocking the Cudas, Vettes, etc.. These cars were wonderful. But, I have driven a modern C6 Corvette and believe me there is no comparison.
SuburbanBoy posted 04-20-2001 10:58 AM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
compounder asked the question, "If the oil isn't burned, what causes all the smoke and exactly where does the oil go?". I would say three places; (remember your thru-hub exhaust) in the water, in the air (blue smoke), and as deposits in your engine. My guess is that the TCWIII standards include a fair amount of environmental consideration, in addition to lubrication, combustion, corrosion, and blending considerations. No matter how you look at it, our beloved 2-cycle is destined for big changes.
dgp posted 04-20-2001 11:04 AM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
I don't think anyone here is critical of the automotive industry and the engines they've developed. Lord knows, I don't want to return to the era of distributors with ignition points.
The point here is that you just can't take a car engine and throw it into a boat and not consider the environmental factors of this application. Pumping salt water through an engine is not the same as an ideal cooling solution of anitfreeze. If you don't take these factors into consideration you're gonna have problems.
Mercury and OMC spent millions of $$ to extend the life of the two cycle engine for marine market. If the EPA wasn't driving this whole business you know they wouldn't have spent a dime on all this direct injection technology. Like the auto industry, we are all going to be the winners because of this and I sincerely hope that Bombardier can get this Ficht system sorted out. I just don't like it when a mfr uses the buying public as their R&D lab, like GM in the 80's and OMC with Ficht.
BTW, turbos are far from dead, just look the European cars of Audi, Mercedes, Porsche, Saab and Volvo.
bigz posted 04-20-2001 11:44 AM ET (US)     Profile for bigz    
You all might find this article interesting from the March 2001 issue of Motor magazine --- and if you don't have Acrobat Reader you can go to click on magazine then articles editorials then click on back issues find March and look for the article on electronics ---
hauptjm posted 04-20-2001 03:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
dgp, I agree that the automotive conversions are worthless. Marine engines should be designed and engineered from the "water" up. As far as turbos, I think it's a great way to aspirate an engine. But, all of the manufacturers you mention added together probably represent less than 5% of all cars sold worldwide on an annual basis. My point being, that the crystal ball is cloudy at best.
daverdla posted 04-20-2001 03:55 PM ET (US)     Profile for daverdla  Send Email to daverdla     
Aren't most if not all inboard engines conversions of automobile engines? My father inlaw's Shamrock has a Ford 351 windsor. Most inboard diesels also have applications for truck, construction vehicles, generators, etc.
SuburbanBoy posted 04-20-2001 04:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for SuburbanBoy  Send Email to SuburbanBoy     
Since we are slightly off topic, take a look at this site for a list of 10 best engines for 2001. (Perhaps appearing someday, in a Whaler?)

lhg posted 04-20-2001 06:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
They say catalytic converters will be in the works for the four stroke outboards. Also for the inboards & I/O's. The general marine industry and go fast boys are panicked about this. Hurt speed and quiet down the noise. I think Mercury's new 4 stroke 250 will have one.
yankee posted 04-22-2001 10:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for yankee  Send Email to yankee     
Having owned both outboards, inboards (350 straight drive)and Diesels let me touch on a few points. Your truck that gets 21 mpg is burning about 3 gallons/hour my boat with the same engine will burn 9 gallons/hr at cruise, and 18 gph at WOT you have some idea of the amount of waisted heat that must be moved out through the cooling system. It really matters very little if the cooling system is glycol or salt water. As far as 2 cycle engines are concerned they work very well for small light motors intended to operate at high rpms for short periods of time i.e. weed trimmers and chain saws. They leave 30% of their fuel unburned and pushed out the exaust ports, and with no valves,cams oil pumps etc they are simple and cheap to produce when compaired to a 4-cycle. Each motor has its approiate applications. We would not think of putting a diesel on a go-cart or a 2-cycle on a farm tractor but I have seen 3x250 hp outboards strapped on a 37 ft headed for the gulf stream with 400 gal of fuel all to be gone before the sun goes down. My rule of thumb < 2,000 lbs run an outboard, 2,000-12,000lbs run gas inboards (diesel maintence cost, weight, and purchase price will kill you) over 12000 lbs the only way to go is diesel. Also having run a stern drive,(Every man makes mistakes) what a peice of C***. Keep it simple the fewer moving parts in your drive train the better. Sorry to go on, but I think the marine industry (Both boat builders and motor makers) have taken us for a ride with their junk.
Dick posted 04-22-2001 10:54 PM ET (US)     Profile for Dick  Send Email to Dick     
I may be wrong on these opinions, it wouldn't be the first time.

Tires are more efficient than a prop therefore better fuel economy with a vehicle.

It takes X amount of fuel to generate X amount of HP. Why would it take more fuel to generate, say, 150 hp, in an outboard vs an inboard?

My understanding is that an I/O or outboard is more efficient than a straight drive because of the downward angle of the prop in a straight drive.

My last comment is the weight to hp advantage an outboard has over an inboard. Less weight with the same hp should = better performance.

Only my perverted opinion.


george nagy posted 04-22-2001 11:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
I recently was browsing the shelves at my local marine store and saw a synthetic outboard oil that claimed to be 100%biodegradable. I thought to myself, "now what is all this epa- 4-stroke-ficht-direct injection-high pressure injection-blah-blah-blah about and is it true that while my 1987 150 evinrude uses a ton of fuel and smokes could in fact have far fewer emissions than a 2001 supermax-ficht-4 stroke-high pressure-high price outboard?" Then I looked at the price per gallon (over $24 a gallon) and said " the hell with it" and bought some more blue smoke!

I would like to know why there is not as much interest from the EPA on the oil as there is on the motors?

I think a non polluting oil would be more important than a "super high tech" motor because they still burn oil and for that matter so do all the existing older engines 2 stroke and 4 stroke alike. If there was an AFFORDABLE biodegradable oil it would be able to clean up a much larger number of existing engines.

You know lately I have been so disappointed with boating. It isn't because of my boat I have a beautiful whaler, as do all of you. It could partialy be the number of nonsense boaters in my area. But I think it is beacause of this "new engine" Blah Blah Blah. My old evinrude runs just great "knock on wood" as my Dad would say about his old chevy van "runs Like New". It just is faded, smokes and has a rusted steel steering arm, but all that aside it realy cranks out and starts everytime. I was considering changing to a new motor this year, but I'm tired of all this new engine ****! I really can't justify paying nearly $11k for anew motor to do the same thing mine does now. It reminds me of another thing my Dad says "if it ain't broke don't fik it"

george nagy posted 04-22-2001 11:15 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
oops! tired again, among other horrible spelling and grammar mystakes in my last post I meant to say "IF IT AIN"T BROKE DON'T FIX IT". Maybe I should say "If it ain't broke don't ficht it"

Well, goodnight to all!

lhg posted 04-23-2001 12:26 AM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
The topic of marine engine pollution, and, indeed, all engine pollution, is of interest to all of us.

First of all, in Dick's response to Yankee, I should also add that the best way to compare fuel use between boats and cars is to remember that pushing (planing) your boat through the water at 30 mph requires the same amount of energy as pulling it on the trailer with your car/truck, uphill at a *30* degree grade, continuously at 80mph! Marine engines continuously operate under heavily loaded conditions relative to a conveyance with wheels.

Regarding the topic of marine engine pollution, the major concern has always been air pollution, not water pollution. The unburned fuel/oil deposited in the water has been shown to not be overly harmful, and to dissipate relatively quickly in a decent sized body of water. But in smaller lakes and ponds it can still be a problem, which has resulted in OB bans in some cases.

But recently, as in California's water supply, there has been a glitch. The addition of this MBTE additive in gasoline, to make CARS less polluting, has shown up in water supplies, from 2 stroke engine exhaust, including jet skis. It's not the 2 stroke gas/oil mixture that is the problem, but this new chemical in the unburned gasoline. Expect this to happen in other areas of the country where boating exists on water supply reservoirs. I think there is an effort underway to get rid of the MBTE, but the Company that makes it is complaining they'd be put out of business, after having specifically developed it for the government!
This seems to be a joke, on all taxpayers. So the Marine industry got blindsided by something out of their control, and unexpected. Hence the rush to 4 stroke outboard engines.

Until recently, the Marine industry has been successful in avoiding the air pollution regulations suffered by the auto industry. But now their financial clout insufficient to keep the wolves away from the door. The outboards were a simple little first target, with only 2 american manufacturers (now only one!) so they got hit first, aggravated by the MBTE thing. Next will be the gasoline inboards, which pollute about the same as a 1960's muscle car engine, and then, the Marine diesels, the worst of the bunch. Ever get down wind of a 38' Sportfisherman idling along with twin diesels? People get seasick all the time fishing on these things, breathing the fumes. Air pollution worst than about forty 200HP 2 strokes doing the same thing. The diesel engine industry, of all sizes, is really the worst offender, and still getting away with it. Heavy trucks (biggest of the problem), buses, railroad locomotives, construction equipment, and ships are huge air polluters, and evidently the current major cause of Ozone depletion. The smoke emissions belching from these exhaust pipes makes a little 2 stroke outboard look like a joke in comparison. But the diesel engine industry, and their client's, financial clout is considerable, and importance to the world's economies is significant, and cleaning up the diesels, worldwide, will be costly and not easy. But it will be done, eventually.

Getting back to the lowly outboard, the new DFI's and 4 strokes are both very clean in air pollution, with something like 85% less emmissions than a conventional 2 stroke. And the water pollution is practically non-existent, although the 4 stroke is the best. I believe that 2005 will be the last year a conventional 2 stroke engine can be sold in this country. Maybe they'll still sell them elsewhere in the world?

triblet posted 04-23-2001 01:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for triblet  Send Email to triblet     
MTBE is being phased out in California, and
will be gone by the end of next year. Some
resevoirs required MTBE-free fuel. There
aren't a lot of stations selling it (three
within about 15 miles of me, but one's
right here in little Morgan Hill (but a
bear to get a trailer into)).

I've pumped the Montauk into my truck and
filled it with MTBE-free fuel once, to water
ski one of the resevoirs. It was still
than trailering two hours each way to the
delta (the lake is just outside town).


hauptjm posted 04-23-2001 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    
Larry, I agree that the Diesel industry has a long way to go in cleaning up their act. I have a question though; isn't the exhaust discharge in diesel engines generally less polutive than gasoline. I don't remember where I heard this, but I was under the impression that because of the lower refining of diesel, it's burnoff was less toxic per measure. What's the science on this?
yankee posted 04-23-2001 09:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for yankee  Send Email to yankee     
I would like to respond to a few of your points. Typical internal combustion engines are 20-25% eff. thus x amount of fuel by y eff. is what produces z amount of work. All the rest needs to go out as waist heat or unused fuel. A 2-cycle is less efficient than a 4 cycle since so much of the fuel is passed through the cylinder unburned. To compensate for this more fuel is put into the system to produce the same amount of work.
Yes, an outboard or I/O has a smaller downward angle than a straight drive inboard but with every 90 degree trun there is a loss of eff of 10% (1 for outboards,2 for I/Os). This dosen't cover all the loss on a real steep angle but anything less than about 13 degrees is covered. Often the weight in the rear is so great that trim tabs must be employed thus further increasing drag. I think the primary reason for the I/Os is they are easy to handle at slow speeds. From the looks around most launch ramps most boaters need as much help as possible. If you look at the boys who really like fast boats and need to get as much power to the prop as possible they always run surface drives on them with a 4-cycle or turbine engine attached no 90 degree turns for them.
Yor weight vs HP issue dosen't consider the eff of an engine. I use to have a Mazda RX-7 with a rotery engine the size of a small microwave oven, but provided 170 hp and would red line at 8000. It never got above 24 mpg. It was small, light, fun to drive, but not very eff.
I know from your postings you have a Montauk. I use to have a 1967 that is a tribute to the Engineers and Production people at Boston Whaler that both that boat and I survived to my childhood with all the wild things we did.
lhg posted 04-23-2001 01:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
One of the problems with the conventional 2 stroke outboards is that they are least efficient (produce blue smoke and dump unburned fuel into the water) where most people (and legislators/environmentalists) see them, such as launch ramps, marinas, public docks, no wake zones, etc. This is where the bad image developed, maybe rightfully so. Take them out on the water at 3000rpm, where they're not seen, and they're quite clean and efficient, very close to a 4 stroke. Power to weight ratios are excellent, and fuel consumption is as good, as we all know. No 30% loss of fuel at planing speeds, where 90% of outboard fuel is burned. Put a 250HP outboard on one boat, and a 250HP inboard (such as a 350 chevy block) on another identical one, and the outboard will out perform it at all but slow and idle speed fuel consumption. And I'm not even talking Optimax DFI here.

So, in reality, much of this issue involves the conventional outboard engine running between 600 and 1600RPM, it's problem zones, and which unfortunately includes trolling. Over those speeds, the air pollution is really not much different than the inboard/IO 4 strokes, outboard 4 strokes or the DFI's. All are better than the smokey & sooty marine diesels.

dgp posted 04-23-2001 02:09 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
Geez, Larry, did you vote for Al Gore? :-)
What’s your beef with Rudy Diesel? The guy’s probably flippin’ around in his grave.
You must have owned a GM 5.7 liter diesel in a Caddy or Olds!
You might get sick from diesel exhaust but it won’t kill you like gasoline exhaust. Gasoline engines are not certified for underground mine use but some diesels are.
The higher compression ratio of diesel engines results in better thermal efficiency hence better engine output and lower fuel consumption. A 12-liter diesel does emit more pollutants than a 3-liter passenger car engine. A 12-liter gasoline engine will emit more than a 12-liter diesel. The sky would be pretty dark today if all we had was gasoline engines trying to do the work of diesels.
In 1996 a Statement of Principles pertaining to non-road diesel engines was signed between EPA, CARB and the diesel engine manufactures. Basically this is a 3-tiered progression to low emission standards. Each tier involves a phase in, by HP rating, over several years with each tier becoming more stringent. In 1998 the EPA estimated that by 2010 NOX emissions would be reduced by about a millions tons per year, like taking 35 million cars off the road. The cost of this program to the engine manufacturers about $7.2 billion.
The diesel engine mfs and the EPA have an excellent working relationship and they self-police each other. If they f**k up they pay huge fines. Some smaller mfrs will go by the wayside because they can’t afford the R&D costs to comply with the new regs.
lhg posted 04-23-2001 03:10 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
Don - thanks for info on Diesels. Glad to see things are finally being done on this problem. No, I voted for Geroge W. He and I even graduated from College on the same day and at the same Commencement ceremony!

From looking around, I just think that it's about time the outboards stop taking all the blue smoke flack and people start looking at what's coming out of diesel exhaust pipes, marine and others. Obviously we need them to do the heavy transportation jobs, and we know they are more efficient in these big HP uses. I do think they need to be cleaned up, especially in the large cities and on the water. Outboard 2 stroke emissions seem trivial compared to the smoke output of the diesel industry.

Just visit an interstate rest stop, packed with sleeping truckers, engines all idling, and take a deep breath! No boat launching ramp, bass boat tournament or marina is even 1/10th this bad.

andygere posted 04-23-2001 03:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
This is an interesting thread, and I have a few observations. MTBE was the California air quality regulators way of passing the buck. I'm a water quality manager for a large California water utility, and I can tell you that this stuff is a real problem, having all but destroyed the groundwater supplies in at least 2 communities in my state (both from leaking underground storgage tanks). The air guys solved their compliance problem, but shifted an even bigger (and longer lasting) one to the drinking water guys. Interestingly, the reservoir Chuck mentioned has not had an MTBE detect since requiring proof of MTBE-free fuel. In terms of air pollution, the gross annual mass of emissions from diesel enignes in the U.S. is orders of magnitude greater than that from recreational boats of all kinds combined. As "dirty" as old technology 2-stroke outboards are, they simply don't get used with enough frequency in large enough numbers to have any measurable effect on air pollution. Diesel engines in busses, trucks, heavy equipment, and power generators on the other hand, do. As LHG suggests, the boating industry is a much easier target. Also, particulate emissions from diesels cause serious health effects, and are suspected to contribute to the rapidly rising rate asthsma in the last several years.
caddis posted 04-23-2001 04:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for caddis  Send Email to caddis     
So what are the rules for California emissions going forward? I was in Tahoe last month and learned about the ban on older two strokes. Now only DFI or four strokes are allowed, since they meet the 2006 standard. However, what about beyond 2006? I'm getting new power on my boat now. I would hate to be out there doing the same thing, but fretting over whether my new motor will meet the future standards. It would really suck to spend $20,000 on new motors, then in 5 years be told that they are no longer allowed, and have to repower again (and most likely not be able to sell the old ones for the same reason!). Difficult problems for those that live there. What, if any, are the solutions? Is this Tahoe-specific, or all of California? Just curious.
dgp posted 04-23-2001 05:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for dgp  Send Email to dgp     
If you want to read the EPA's stand on this issue go to .
For info on CARB standards go to . You'll note HP referenced in kW. That's mechanical kW not electrical. To convert to SAE HP multiply by 1.341.
andygere posted 04-23-2001 06:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for andygere  Send Email to andygere     
The town of South Lake Tahoe is one of the communities that has had to shut down many of its wells due to MTBE contamination, and MTBE has been detected regularly in Lake Tahoe. It's unclear if 2-strokes will be allowed on the lake when the MTBE ban is in effect statewide next year, but I doubt it. I'm sure that the resultant ban on PWCs has pleased many Tahoe residents, which will no doubt help the effort to keep 2-strokes off the lake. When I bought my current Montauk, the lack of a Tahoe compliant motor was an issue, but not a large enough one to keep me from buying the boat. Regarding the rules in California, you are right. This is probably the most regulated place on the planet.
lhg posted 04-23-2001 07:22 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
There seems to be two current standards for hydrocarbon emission reductions in outboards:

(CARB = California Air Resources Board)

1. CARB 2004 (2 star)/EPA 2006 - 80% reduction in emissions over conventional 2 strokes

2. CARB 2008 (3 star) - 91% reduction

How do they stack up?

CARB 2004/EPA 2006:

Mercury: all Optimax & all 4 strokes
Yamaha: all HPDI & all 4 strokes
Honda: all 4 strokes
Evinrude: With Ficht problems, not sure, but I assume they qualify, and also the Suzuki 4 strokes. Mercury claims the Ficht emits higher emissions than the Optimax or Yamaha HPDI, and uses more fuel. Fichts are currently off the market and cannot yet be sold new.

CARB 2008:

Mercury: 135 Optimax, & 40,50,60,75,90,115 4-strokes
Yamaha: No engines currently qualify.
Honda: 20,30,50,75,90 4 strokes
Evinrude/Suzuki: No Ficht, but don't know if a few of the Suzuki/Evinrude 4 strokes qualify.

What is interesting here is that Mercury leads the pack in clean engines! Since many of the 4 strokes have Yamaha components, they must be doing some improvements of their own to get the cleaner 2008 ratings.

Hope this helps out people looking for the Ultra clean 3 star engines. So far, the most powerful engine available in this class is the Merc 135HP Optimax.

JB posted 04-24-2001 04:02 PM ET (US)     Profile for JB  Send Email to JB     
This Lake Tahoe thing, and for that matter all of California politics, is a giant mess and a joke. As a resident of California for the last 30 years, I've see much of California's attractiveness go down the tubes, from education to recreation. The MTBE gasoline solution is a real crime. MTBE is a known carcinogen! How could they ever have started using it in the first place! I won't even get into the California energy crisis, the highest gasoline prices, the most expensive housing, etc. If we let them, the politicians will do for boating what they've done for off-roading...While I'm not a great afficionado of jet skis, I hope pending litigation, brought on by some jet ski manufactures, will restore some two stroke sanity to Lake Tahoe and the rest of the state.

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